financial stress

How Financial Stress Nearly Destroyed My Family, My Marriage, & My Self-Esteem

By Eryka T. Johnson

Today, we’re discussing a very serious topic that plagues and cripples many families together. It’s called financial stress.

Financial stress is the strain experienced when dealing with financial situations particularly if there are more bills than money, mis-management of family funds, and even disagreements over how the money should be spent wisely.

Often times, when a family is faced with financial stress it can lead to break up & divorce unfortunately. This is exactly what nearly happened to my family.

We lived totally outside our means – spending more money than we actually would bring home from our comfortable jobs. This caused a rip in the family. In fact, I probably was the most disjointed out of the entire family because of my natural instinct to care for matters of the home.

NOTE: Financial stress can apply to families with nice incomes, low incomes, and no incomes. I will tell you why a little later.

My Family

Financial stress changed how I interacted with my family particularly the kids. Being already quick-tempered and irritable, I often would offer little to no grace when it came to their behaviors. It literally would take absolutely nothing for me to “blow up.” If they did not sit down or ran around too much or giggled too loud, I would blow a gasket. I knew they did not deserve that type of behavior from a so-called loving mom but I was in way over my head with these finances. It was a struggle too to come up with a strategy that worked to relieve the financial pressure. I needed a quick fix or so I thought.

Unaware to me at the time, I was training my children on how to relate with money and their families. It was certainly a poor model that has since changed tremendously.

My Marriage

Financial stress changed how I interacted with my husband. We both were very young and quite immature. In fact, one of our greatest challenges in marriage was our inability to communicate. Of course, this spread throughout every situation in our relationship. But, when it came to the finances, it seemed to show up the worst.

We fought over every dime, had separate accounts, and had very different viewpoints on how the money should be spent. I totally agree with a commercial that I once saw explaining that money matters is the #1 cause of divorce today. My son even recognized that as he sat and watched the same commercial then looked at my husband and I to ensure we saw it too.

My Self-Esteem

Financial stress changed how I saw myself. I will admit it…I struggled with pride for years. I felt entitled, was tied to status because of my college degree and my brains, and felt like I was “IT” because of my good paying job.

In my mind, I should have never struggled with financial issues because of “who I was.” Boy, was I wrong. Because I attached my sense of worth, confidence, and self-esteem to money, I often was embarrassed and wore my head down. I was in the dumps because I allowed finances to dictate how I saw myself. In fact, I felt like a failure and saw myself as a failure.

Then, I got a revelation. In order to first relieve the financial stress, I had to change the way I saw money. Even though we had good salaries, our money mindset was off. What a BREAKTHROUGH? We as a family attended a program that changed the financial landscape of our lives. Money was finally put in its proper place.

Money, just like everything else, has to have a purpose in your life. It’s not your source or the beginning & ending to ALL things.

What difficulties are you experiencing as a result of financial strain?

Eryka T. Johnson